Everyone knows what a lip is but I'm asking from a technical and anatomical standpoint.

Actually what we call "lip" is "vermilion" in medical terminology. But I want to ask if my understanding is right or not regarding to surface anatomy of the lip.

Lip consists of two parts called upper lip and lower lip. And upper lip and lower lip consists of two parts: skin (cutaneous) part and vermilion part (vermilion is a special kind of skin also but we do not call it skin).

Lip = upper lip (upper cutaneous lip + upper vermilion) + lower lip (lower cutaneous lip + lower vermilion)

This is a diagram that depicts the upper lip portion: enter image description here

Source: http://elementsofmorphology.nih.gov/anatomy-oral.shtml


Am I right so far? Did I miss any points?

Is the term "upper lip" ever used for the skin (cutaneous) part only? (especially in surgical terminology and reconstruction surgeries)

Are the "upper cutaneous lip" and "lower cutaneous lip" terms established terms in medicine? Are there any other names or latin names for those? (I also see the usage of "cutaneous upper lip" and "cutaneous lower lip")

  • $\begingroup$ Don’t forget the part of the inside of lip where the skin texture changes to smooth wet surface. In cosmetic procedures this is call the wet - dry border. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 12:26

1 Answer 1



The upper lip extends from the base of the nose superiorly to the nasolabial folds laterally and to the free edge of the vermilion border inferiorly. The lower lip extends from the superior free vermilion edge superiorly, to the commissures laterally, and to the mandible inferiorly. Around the circumferential vermilion-skin border, a fine line of pale skin accentuates the color difference between the vermilion and normal skin. Along the upper vermilion-skin border, 2 paramedian elevations of the vermilion form the Cupid bow. Two raised vertical columns of tissue form a midline depression called the philtrum. The philtrum is located between the paramedian elevations of the vermilion and the columella above. The labiomental crease passes horizontally in an inverted U-shape across the lower lip, which intraorally corresponds to the depth of the gingivolabial sulcus.

This includes vermilion as well. Dont forget the mucous part inside mouth.

enter image description here This whole is lip.

As for upper cutaneous lip or cutaneous upper lip, it wont matter, both are same and are used interchangeably. And quite frequently used is upper cutaneous lip. As for latinisation, you can use labium for lip, no such specific word for upper or lower lip, is know to me. But, you can try superior cutaneous labium and inferior cutaneous labium, if you want.


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